With the official founding of the Kent Hospice Foundation on Oct. 7, 1983, a compassionate and dedicated group of local residents saw a dream take root—a dream to provide dignified, high-quality care to the dying, and to offer bereavement support to surviving loved ones.
“The very core of the Kent Hospice Foundation has always been the belief that each of us, as individuals, should experience a pain-free, peaceful, and dignified end of life, and that families should receive the necessary support to allow us to do so,” says
Judy Sharretts, the current chair of the foundation`s 18-member board of directors.
As it observes its 20th anniversary, the Kent Hospice Foundation continues to evolve in its role, having cared for hundreds of patients in their final days of life and offered comfort to thousands of family members and friends.
Throughout its history, the foundation has demonstrated the wisdom and foresight to adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. The organization formed a partnership with Chester River Home Care & Hospice for clinical home health and hospice services while continuing to perform fund-raising and provide bereavement and volunteer support services.
Now, the foundation has undergone another evolutionary shift by bringing its support services under the Chester River Health System umbrella and sharpening its focus on the fund-raising activities at which it has been extraordinarily successful over two decades.
One of those activities, the annual Tree of Lights, has become a Chestertown tradition that is widely appreciated for its touching beauty during the holiday season. (Look for more information about this year`s Tree of Lights on the back page of Bridges.)
The community`s generosity has always been the bedrock of the Kent Hospice Foundation, Sharretts says, not only in the donations that have kept hospice support services free, but also in the form of volunteers who have given countless hours of their time.
“Whether they volunteer as board members, envelope stuffers, cookie bakers, or for taking individuals for treatments and care, they all devote themselves to making individuals` last days, breaths, and moments as comfortable and dignified as possible,” Sharretts says.
That`s the mission that the Kent Hospice Foundation is committed to keeping alive forever.